A Medical Boards Diablility Determination Is Usually Sustained Based on 'Some Credible Evidence'
In Matter of Borenstein v. New York City Employees 'Retirement System, 88 NY2d 756, 673 N.E.2d 899, 650 N.Y.S.2d 614 (1996), the Court of Appeals held that:
In an article 78 proceeding challenging the disability determination, the Medical Board's finding will be sustained unless it lacks rational basis, or is arbitrary or capricious (see, Matter of Canfora v. Board of Trustees, 60 NY2d 347, 351, 457 N.E.2d 740, 469 N.Y.S.2d 635; Matter of Pell v. Board of Educ., 34 NY2d 222, 230-231, 313 N.E.2d 321, 356 N.Y.S.2d 833).
Ordinarily, a Medical Board's disability determination will not be disturbed if the determination is based on substantial evidence (see, Matter of Tobin v. Steisel, 64 NY2d 254, 259, 475 N.E.2d 101, 485 N.Y.S.2d 730; Matter of Canfora v. Board of Trustees, supra).
While the quantum of evidence that meets the "substantial" threshold cannot be reduced to a formula, in disability cases the phrase has been construed to require "some credible evidence"
Matter of Longo v. City of New York, 178 AD2d 253, 255, 578 N.Y.S.2d 131, affd 79 NY2d 1011, 594 N.E.2d 930, 584 N.Y.S.2d 436;
Matter of Goldman v. McGuire, 101 AD2d 768, 770, 475 N.Y.S.2d 849, affd 64 N.Y.2d 1041, 478 N.E.2d 983, 489 N.Y.S.2d 467;
Matter of Belnavis v. Board of Trustees, 84 AD2d 244, 248, 445 N.Y.S.2d 736;
Matter of Manza v. Malcolm, 44 AD2d 794, 355 N.Y.S.2d 110;
Matter of Drayson v. Board of Trustees, 37 AD2d 378, 380, 326 N.Y.S.2d 328, affd 32 NY2d 852, 299 N.E.2d 684, 346 N.Y.S.2d 273.
"Some credible evidence" strikes a proper balance between deference to the Medical Board and accountability to NYCERS members. Id. at 760.
In Borenstein, the Court found that a determination by the Medical Board that respondent was not physically disabled for the purpose of performing city-service was based on some credible evidence and was not arbitrary and capricious where the Medical Board, while considering respondent's subjective complaints of pain when determining disability, found that the medical evidence submitted by respondent was not dispositive on the issue of disability but was subject to conflicting interpretations.
The Board alone had the authority to resolve such conflicts.
In each of its two final reports submitted to the Board of Trustees, the Medical Board detailed what medical proof had been considered, specified the nature of respondent's complaints and outlined the results of its physical examinations of respondent, concluding that respondent's physical condition was not disabling for duty.